Monthly Goal Update: July 2017

I’ve committed to tracking the progress of my goals on a monthly basis. These posts have been inconsistent in previous years, so I plan on recording 12 of these for 2017.

I record these videos to keep myself accountable and show others how I’ve gone from A to B. I hope in time, I can help to inspire people to become accountable for their goals too.

Dr. Gail Matthews conducted a study that found you’re 39.5% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. She also found that if you send progress reports to others – friends, mentors, coaches, accountability partners etc. you were 76.7% more likely to achieve those goals.

Writing them down significantly weighs the odds of success in your favour, but providing regular updates almost doubles the chances of success. This is a big reason behind me making these posts/videos.

I have 9 Goals for 2017. They’re spread across different areas of my life. Each month I record an update video charting my progress. Let’s get into it!



2017 Goals

1. I will easily create and launch an online course by 31st December 2017

This is my priority goal for 2017. If I achieved this and failed the rest, I would be very happy with my year overall, such is the requirement of the task.

The course is now live for my founding members, and they’re steadily working through the content. I’ve created a dedicated Facebook page for members to communicate, share best practices and help support each other etc. It’s still in its infancy, but I’ve been happy with its development so far.

I’ve received most of the feedback forms back for Module 1, and a good chunk for Module 2. Overall the feedback has been very positive. There are great suggestions on how to improve what I’ve done so far, which I know I can implement. The feedback is very important to me, especially when it’s in referring to the content. I know people are going to have mixed views on my layout, navigation and delivery, but I want to make sure that the content is solid. So far, the founding members have been satisfied, I only hope this feeling continues as they work through the course.

July turned out to be a fairly modest month with regards to creating new lessons. I released 3 new videos in Module 3, which is below what I had planned to do. I particularly struggled with video 3, but some lessons are harder to write than others, and I’m sure that’s going to continue.

I think the course is going to take the best part of a year to complete on my current progress.


2. I will easily set up a charitable fund, promote it on my Blog, and donate 10% of my course profits to ‘Building Schools For Africa’ by 31st December 2017

My goal here is to work towards building a new school in Cameroon for the Charity ‘Building Schools For Africa’. I need £20,000 to fund the project.

I plan on raising the funds myself by putting a percentage of my earnings towards it each month, and by giving 10% of my course profits towards it. I’ve set up the fund in a separate saving account, and I’ve set up a new promotion page which highlights what the project’s about on my new WordPress Blog HERE.

Here’s my progress so far:

Jan = £1,069 (5.3%)
Feb = £1,304 (6.5%)
Mar = £1,438 (7.2%)
Apr = £1,788 (8.9%)
May = £1,913 (9.6%)
June = £2,013.00 (10%)
July = £2,273.00 (11.4%)


In 2017, my contributions have averaged £200 per month. At this rate, I’ll get to the total in 88 months or 7.3 years! So, I have some work to do. I don’t have a deadline, but I’d like to hit it by the end of 2020.

My course went live at the end of June, and in July I received my first payments for the material I created, which was really exciting. I charged the Founding members £99 + VAT for lifetime membership to the content, which resulted in my contributions being noticeably higher than in previous months.

I’ve now closed the sign up page, so I won’t be accepting any other members at the moment until the course is complete, so the contributions will probably drop again for the next few months.

Once ISP goes live, I’ll increase the rate to £399 + VAT, which I’m hoping will be the start of sustained monthly contributions. In the meantime, I’m working towards an end of year figure of £3,000.


3. My Investment Portfolio will easily pay me £6,000 (£500 per month) in income in 2017

This goal is one of the most exciting for me to review each month. Since moving to Cambridge, we’re very fortunate to live mortgage free. This has had a significant impact on our monthly expenses. Although we’re unclear how much it costs to live down here precisely (as it’s been less than a year), we think it’s going to be roughly the same as Herefordshire minus the mortgage (£365 less for both of us).

Our basic living costs (food, transport, house bills and insurance) are somewhere in the region of £400 to £450 per month. I spend more money than that each month, but all of that can be stripped back, tweaked or changed as they’re less important to my overall lifestyle.

My first objective is to prove that I can cover all of my living costs with passive investments only in 2017. For me, Passive Income includes Dividends and Peer to Peer lending income only. I’ve over-estimated that amount by setting the goal at £500 per month to make sure I cover everything.

I don’t use any of the income I receive each month. I reinvest all dividends, P2P income, and capital gains profits right back into more buying more assets.

My longer term goal is to cover my entire lifestyle expenses with dividends and P2P income, which is currently around the £1,250 per month mark.

Let’s take a look at how I got on this month:

Jan = £350.26
Feb = £517.28
Mar = £390.55
Apr = £311.93
May = £689.73
Jun = £902.81
Jul = £827.90

(TOT: £3,990.46 / AVE: £570.07)


I was anticipating a record month across the board for July at the start of the month, however, two companies delayed their dividends into August, and a company delayed its payment into August for P2P. So July was slightly less than I had previously planned, but that’s the way it goes with investment income. You cannot guarantee what will come in until it’s in your account.

I still managed to bring in £827, which is my second highest month overall, and substantially above my living costs.

Dividends were at an all time high of £622.72, which was slightly behind my all time high of last month.

In July 2016 I received £432.32 in dividends (44% increase). This is why I love dividend investing so much! I still find it so satisfying to see substantial annual increases for doing nothing (from my end).

I continue to invest in new companies every month, but I attempt to select companies that have a history of regularly increasing their dividends every year. If my dividends increase by 44% next year, the total will be £896 (in dividends alone). The annual increases over time are truly life changing.

My Passive Income monthly average has now increased to £570.07 which extends the gap I have over my goal. August was due to be the lowest income month of the year, but thanks to the deferrals it should be a little more respectable now. I’m likely to find a drop in my overall average, but I’m confident that it’ll still be above the annual target.


4. I will easily create and launch my new Blog with 500 email subscribers by 31st December 2017

I finally made the move from Blogger to WordPress in April. In May, I tried to improve the appearance of the site and added a mailing list to get things up and running.

I released a couple of posts on my blog during July, which were based around the ‘How to Retire by 40’ TV program. I also added an ‘about me‘ page to help introduce ‘who I am’ to new readers.

17 people subscribed to the Blog, which is a PB and takes the total to 28.

My blog is playing second fiddle to the course right now, so I don’t think the subscriber count is going to shoot up to 500 by the end of the year. I have some ideas on how I can make the subscription more appealing, but I need to give it some more thought before rolling anything out.


5. I will easily read or listen to 16 books by 31st December 2017

In an attempt to invest more into myself, I’ve been diving into books over the last 12 months. I set myself the goal of reading 1.3 books a month.

I achieved this goal in April, much to my surprise. Here’s the full list of books I’ve read so far this year. I’ve bolded the books I read in June:

1. ‘Screw it, let’s do it’ by Richard Branson
2. ‘Influence’ by Robert Cialdini
3. ‘The Checklist Manifesto’ by Atul Gawande
4. ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday
5. ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg
6. ‘Tao Te Ching’ by Lao Tsu
7. ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ by Viktor E. Frankl
8. ‘Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman’ by Richard Feynman
9. ‘Siddhartha’ by Hermann Hesse
10. ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius
11. ‘Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life’ by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn
12. ‘The Truth’ by Neil Strauss
13. ‘Ego is the Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday
14. ‘#AskGaryVee’ by Gar Vaynerchuk
15. ‘Essentialism’ by Greg McKeown
16. ‘The Power of Vulnerability’ by Brene Brown
17. ‘The 10X Rule’ by Grant Cardone
18. ‘Tools of Titans’ by Tim Ferriss
19. ‘Buddhism for Busy People’ by David Michie
20. ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ by Brene Brown
21. ‘The Complete Guide to Property Investment’ by Rob Dix
22. ‘Waking Up’ by Sam Harris
23. ‘Unshakeable’ by Tony Robbins
24. ‘The Naked Trader’ by Robbie Burns
25. ‘The Naked Traders Guide To Spread Betting’ by Robbie Burns
26. ‘Trade Like A Shark’ by Robbie Burns
27. ‘10% Happier’ by Dan Harris
28. ‘I Can’t Make This Up’ by Kevin Hart

29. ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson


I only completed one book this month. Whilst I was nursing a new rib injury (unrelated to the other one), I wasn’t attending the MMA class or doing any gym work. The time off substantially slowed down my daily reading. The one book I read was a brilliant though!

‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life’ by Mark Manson – AMAZON LINK – An excellent personal development book for those who don’t like reading personal development books.

This is one of the standout books in the 29 I’ve read this year. There are knowledge bombs throughout this book but it’s written in a humorous way. He pokes fun at the personal development industry, which I found entertaining (and true) as a ‘self help junkie’.

His blunt and honest message is very powerful – Stop caring about all the unimportant things in life, and save your energy for the things that matter.

If you’re interested in stoicism and turned off by self help books and guru’s, this is likely to strike a chord with you!


6. Lou and I will easily have at least one ‘date night’ a month for the whole of 2017. (12 ‘date nights’ in total)

Lou and I have committed to having a date night at least once a month. We felt it was important to commit at least one evening to each other without the distractions of work, TV or evening cooking.

We’ve both enjoyed this goal so far. It’s a pleasure to work towards in fact. Here are the restaurants/pubs we’ve attended in the Cambridge area.

1. Jan – The Golden Ball
2. Feb – MillWorks
3. Mar – The Crown and Punchbowl
4. Apr – St Johns Chop House
5. May – The Tickell Arms
6. Jul – The Crown and Punchbowl (Pudding Night)
7. Jul – Date Night at home


We didn’t venture out in June. This was a joint decision made in the last week of June. We were initially planning on going out for one evening, but we decided to refrain and go for two in July because there’s a special Pudding Night at one of the restaurants we like.

We paid £35 a head, which included a main course and 5 x puddings. We haven’t done anything like this before, so we thought it would be fun. OMG!

OMG! We both agreed that we don’t want to do that again in a VERY long time! The puddings were pretty much full size, and by the end of the night we both felt totally sick. I’m not blaming the pub, they did an awesome job and the desserts were unbelievably good. We just couldn’t control the gluttony.

Lou and I made the rookie mistake of ordering sausage and mash from the fixed menu. This meal in itself was enough to satisfy us. We felt a little stupid when we saw the rest of the group were eating light salads and such like.

Now I’d class myself as a pretty disciplined guy with most stuff, but if I’ve paid for food, and the service is providing more of it, regardless of whether I’m full or not….. I’m eating it!

I know it’s stupid, but I’m stupid OK.

I don’t even want to know how many calories I consumed that night, and the fact it came mostly from sugar was NOT good for my body. The next day, I actually felt hung over, despite not drinking anything. I also had a crap night sleep.

If you’re interested in attending one of these nights, take our word and go for a light meal and DON’T accept extra servings!

Date night number 2 for the month was at our house. Lou and I weren’t too keen on going out for a second night in a month so we decided to make ourselves a nice meal at home and open a nice bottle of wine. We saved a lot of money from doing this, and we both really enjoyed it.

We went for steak and potato wedges, with Lou’s famous creme fraiche and parmesan cheese sauce. It was divine! We then worked our way through some beautiful red wine and watched a few episodes of ‘Mad Men’ as we let our food digest. Lou made a beautiful raspberry crumble which topped off the night perfectly.

It was quite refreshing not having to dress up for date night, and having us both enjoy a few drinks rather than one of us. I think we’ll have some more date nights at home, but I think it’s important to get out and about too.

We’re now back on track for the year, and we should meet this goal comfortably.


7. I will easily attend 3 x different clubs/classes in Cambridge area by 31st March 2017

I set this goal, with a limited timeframe to make me get out there and meet people. I have limited friends in the area, and I hope by putting myself out there I’ll meet like-minded people.

I didn’t complete the goal in the timeframe, as I’ve previously discussed, but I’ve continued to put myself out there and join clubs in an attempt to meet people in the area. Here are some of the thing’s I’ve tried:

  1. Improve Beginners Course – Completed and loved!
  2. Acrobatics and Juggling Course – The course cancelled due to low sign ups
  3. Gym – I joined and have since cancelled a gym membership
  4. ‘Run your Own Business’ course – Joined and pulled out of course. It wasn’t what I had hoped for.
  5. ‘Graphic Design for Beginners’ course – I pulled out of the course due to eye health issues. Gutted!
  6. Mixed Martial Arts Club – Recently joined and I’m already obsessed!


I don’t have anything to add to this area for July. I’m still attending the MMA club, despite missing several weeks with an injury.

I’m going to research some local clubs for the Sept/Oct term, so long as they work around my MMA training. I want to find something that isn’t physical, so I have something to get my teeth into if I get another injury.



8. I will easily record 52 new Youtube videos and have 2,000 Youtube subscribers by 31st December 2017

I’ve eliminated the regular work I was doing with Youtube to focus more on my Course. This is likely to result in me failing this goal, but I’m prepared for that sacrifice to release my course.

In July I released 1 videos and gained 14 subscribers, bringing my totals to 15 videos in 7 months and 385 subscribers.

It’s looking ever so likely that this goal will drop off for 2017 now. The course is taking so much longer than I anticipated and it requires too much of my time to focus on Youtube development too, but that’s ok.

I’m not going to change the goal or beat myself about it. I’ll slowly chip away at my progress, and work towards the subscriber count and increase video production numbers and quality over time.


9. I will easily complete 26 x bi-weekly reviews to track my progress in 2017

During these sessions, I focus on my previous week’s performance to my goals. I consider what I’ve learned, celebrate my successes and set up the following week’s activities. The idea of this goal is to keep myself accountable on a weekly basis and to ensure over the course of 7 days, I’m moving in the right direction.

I did 5 sessions in July, despite going away for one of the weekends, and I’m now on the cusp of achieving the goal. I’m at 25 for the year.

I should have this goal wrapped up for August.


How was July for you?

Please share your wins, learning outcomes and general thoughts below!


  • theFIREstarter

    Reply Reply 30th August 2017

    Great to hear about your goal updates Huw!

    Also loving the new look for the site, nice work 🙂

    The pudding night sounds part fantastic and part horrendous, I know I’d end up doing exactly the same thing and getting a “sugar hangover” as well, as I call them! I read that the bodies reaction to fructose is almost exactly the same as ethanol so it’s no surprise that too much of it makes you feel like cr@p.

    You are doing well with the date nights, I think me and my Lou are probably on about 2 for the whole year haha. Although throw a kid into the equation and then let’s see how you do 😉

    Your book list sounds awesome. If you need any ideas for future blog posts I’d seriously be interested in some overviews of pretty much all of those books (as I don’t have time to read any of them myself!)… so you best get cracking. Although I really want to read that last one so may have to squeeze out some time somewhere to read that one… what a title (The subtle are of…), who can resist that!

    What’s going on with the schools thing then… can I donate yet or is that still on ice until you get a bit nearer the target?


    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 30th August 2017

      Thanks man!

      Yes, the pudding night would make awesome torture. Too much of a good thing and all that. Jesus, I didn’t feel right for at least 24 hours. The puddings were immense though. Ha ha, yes date nights are significantly easier when you don’t have a child (I can only imagine) 🙂

      Once I’ve finished this course, I think I will write up some of the summaries I’ve taken from my reading. It’ll help my learning if nothing else. Yes, ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ is a great read. It’s fun, informative and real.

      The school fund is coming along nicely. I still have a long way to go though. I’m currently saving the money in a separate saving’s account. Once I reach the £20k, I’ll make the donation. You’re welcome to donate now or wait. It’ll be sat in my account until the total is reached. I perhaps shouldn’t be saying this, but I would keep it in your account for now because at my current rate it’ll take a few years until I get there. I really appreciate the gesture though, and if you feel strongly about donating in advance, I’d be happy to hold your donation. Email me direct if you’re interested!

      Great to hear from you, and thanks for the comment!

      Best wishes

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 3rd September 2017

    Hi Huw
    Just trying to catch up on my blog reading – great update, looking forward to your next one.

    Interesting about your obsession with the mixed martial arts – I recall when I was doing my martial arts, it was like an obsession to me then too – it was all I could think of and I took my training seriously. However, too many injuries put a stop to the training and although occasionally I miss the training, I then remember how tough it was and the bruises I used to get and perhaps I don’t miss it that much!

    The Pudding Night sounds very interesting but not something I would take part in – I’m not really a pudding person, usually too stuffed after the main course! I have friends though who would probably want to do something like that all the time!

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 4th September 2017

      Thanks Weenie!

      Yes, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of MMA. There’s so much to learn, it’s very humbling and they’re a great group of people. What aspect of martial arts did you train in Weenie? How long did you do it for?

      I can see how injuries ended your training. I suppose it’s very much like most physically demanding sports. The longer you expose yourself to it, the more like you’ll accumulate injuries. I don’t mind the bruises so much, but I’m starting to develop the dreaded cauliflower ear on my left side…. and it bloody hurts!

      Avoid the pudding night weenie, they’re deadly! 5-course puddings = sugar hangover!

      • weenie

        Reply Reply 5th September 2017

        Best to try to protect your ear(s), much in the same way that rugby players do!

        I trained in Goju Ryu, which is one of the traditional forms of karate. It took me 3 years to get my 1st Dan and I continued for another 2 or so years after that.

        Although the training was very much on the ‘art’ in terms of fitness and forms, sparring was semi-contact and there were no other females for me to spar against so it was me vs the guys! No serious injuries (apart from a trip to A&E with torn ligaments in my foot and mild concussion from a roundhouse kick to the head!). However, I know that due to sustained minor injuries, I will almost certainly suffer from arthritis in a couple of my lower finger joints and my right knee – they’ve never healed 100%.

        These days, the closest I get to the training is working out on the punchbag, but it’s certainly not the same level I was working out at back then! I think that was the one time in my life when I had a proper six-pack! 🙂

        • Huw Davies

          Reply Reply 5th September 2017

          That’s very impressive Weenie. I had no idea you were such a beast! 🙂

          You’ll have to show me some moves at the next FIRE Escape! 😉

          • weenie

            5th September 2017

            Haha, it’s been a very long time since I last practised any moves! I’ve forgotten it all, although can still pack a good punch (for a small person!) 😉

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